Dolly Alderton's New Novel, Ghosts, Is Bridget Jones's Diary For 2021

Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House
As POPSUGAR editors, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. If you buy a product we have recommended, we may receive affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.

I'd heard Dolly Alderton's name from other book-loving friends in reference to her first book, Everything I Know About Love, but never got around to reading the memoir (we all know how the ever-growing TBR list goes). So when I was given an opportunity to read her newest book, Ghosts ($21), ahead of its August release, I took it as a sign and dove right in.

I thought this book would be a straightforward romantic comedy about getting ghosted after it was pitched to me as the "must-read rom-com of the summer," but oof, was that assessment wrong! Although Ghosts follows a year in the life of 32-year-old food writer Nina Dean in which she does, in fact, get ghosted by a man she's dated for three months, this story is a full, multifaceted picture of Nina's life beyond her current relationship status.

Aside from accurately portraying the fallout of a partner ghosting you, Ghosts examines the idiosyncrasies of adult friendships — particularly those that have grown from childhood — and explores the hopelessness of watching someone you love struggle with dementia. Throughout the novel, Nina deals with an obnoxious neighbor, has a front-row seat to her ex moving on with someone else, and grapples with many other deeply relatable aspects of life in one's early 30s. At first glance, Ghosts is another romantic comedy about dating in the digital age, but as you get further immersed into Nina's story, it reveals many beautiful and messy layers.

Standout Quote

"As I stood in the chasm between who I thought he was to me and the reality of a person who never wanted to speak to me again, I realized just how much we hadn't known about each other. . . I deleted Max's number along with all our messages and I knew then that I would never see or hear from him again. I accepted it. It was over. He was gone."


Whether you're currently immersed in the dating scene or not, try to think back to a time in your life when you were your most vulnerable while looking for love. No worries if you can't fully relate — Dolly's writing will put you right into Nina's shoes, even if you've never been in situations quite like hers.

Where You Should Read It

Snuggled up on your couch with a cup of tea, on your favorite park bench, in a pub with a glass of wine . . . wherever you read it, know that you'll be laughing out loud and possibly tearing up.

Read This If You Like . . .

Bridget Jones's Diary, stories with strong characters, if you loved Dolly's writing in Everything I Know About Love, and if you enjoy comedies with a serious, more emotional side.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt(s)

This novel can check off more than one 2021 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompt; just pick the one that fits best for you.

  • A book that's published in 2021 (in the US)
  • A book by an author who shares your zodiac sign (Virgo)
  • A book about forgetting
  • A book set somewhere you'd like to visit in 2021 (London)
  • A book you think your best friend would like

How Long It Takes to Read

At 336 pages, this book took me around five hours to read over the course of a few days. It's an easy read, one that you could likely devour in a couple of long sittings.

Give This Book to . . .

Your best friend, the hopeless romantic, the one who's been ghosted in any capacity, or the friend in the group who's always striking out with app dating.

The Sweet Spot Summary

Ghosts follows a full year in the life of Nina Dean, a single food writer from London. Although her 32nd birthday is uneventful, the 365 days that follow include a variety of emotional ups and downs for Nina, from being ghosted by her new boyfriend to struggling with accepting her dad's deteriorating health and publishing her second book. It's a relatable and endearing snapshot of life in one's early 30s that will make you laugh, cry, and look at your own life through the lens of Nina's commentary and experiences.

Emoji Rating

👻 + 💔 + 🙆‍♀️